My 18 year old son was seen at an ER today for chest pain which was worse with deep breathing. The 12 lead ECG was read as "abnormal" by the NP with ST segment elevations. A chest x-ray was taken and the results were normal. The ER doc said that the pain was probably pleurisy and instructed him to take Ibuprofen for the next few days. Should I have my doctor refer my son to a cardiologist to repeat the ECG, or is it likely that the ST segment elevations were entirely normal?
A casual look online showed that ST Segment Elevation can be caused by, among other things, Pericarditis (inflammation of the sac around the heart) or some forms of ST Segment Elevation can be normal in young adults.
Pericarditis causes chest pain that can be aggravated by breathing in deeply (according to what I just read). Also, the article says that Pericarditis most often effects men between 20 and 50 years old. (Your son is close enough).
If it were me, I would notify my Family Doctor in the morning and ask for his/her opinion. I would mention the ST Segment Elevation and ask about the possibility of Pericarditis being the problem.
The article went on to say that Pericarditis can be caused by an infection, and is sometimes treated with Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs. It usually takes one to three weeks to go completely away and usually doesn't cause any serious problems.
The Family Doctor can obtain the results from the ER to make a further determination. If it were Pericarditis, your son should be seen by your Family Doctor, as scheduling for a Cardiologist can be time consuming.
Best of health to you and yours.
P.S. The Pericarditis information was from the American Heart Association Web Site.
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